Feb. 12-- You wouldn't call ArvinMeritor's CEO Larry Yost boastful, although he is proud of his accomplishments.
For example, it was his vision that merged Meritor with Arvin in a pure stock swap merger that helped both companies by blending a light-vehicle supplier with a heavy-truck supplier to smooth out the business cycles.
You wouldn't exactly call him obstinate either, though Yost is still convinced that his failed attempt to take over Dana Corp. was the right thing to do even though Wall Street disagrees. He's also dead certain that there will be a further consolidation of suppliers.
But sit next to Yost at dinner, and he is likely to tell you about lessons he learned during his days as a machinist in a Warner & Swasey Co. factory. Or about the contributions made by ArvinMeritor's 32,000 employees and the programs he launched to honor and encourage them.
This week, he told those employees that the ArvinMeritor board has hired a search firm to identify a successor for him. Yost, who'll be 66 this month, isn't in a big rush to get out the door; He'll stay at least until a successor is found.
His journey to the executive suite began from an unusual place because after high school, Yost chose a machinist's apprenticeship instead of a college education. College came later. Then came 32 years on the job, first at Rockwell International, then Meritor Inc., which was the new name for Rockwell Automotive when it was spun off, and ultimately ArvinMeritor.
Yost has been on his share of charitable and educational boards. He and his wife have a second home in Naples, Fla., where so many industry executives congregate.
But in many ways, Yost is still a lunch bucket kind of guy.
He hasn't lost the strong handshake of a man who does manual labor for a living. He looks you in the eye when he's talking to you, and he still wears his belt with the buckle off to the side, which machinists do for safety, because it reminds him of where he got his start.
Yost also abstains from many of the customary perks enjoyed by corporate officers; he prefers flying commercial airlines to taking a corporate jet, and he gave back his company-paid country club membership.
That could make it tough to find a successor.